The best garden water features in the UK

Install a plug-in fountain for a restful babble and instant relaxation.

best garden water features

by Jill Morgan |
Updated on

Soothing on the eyes and ears, the best garden water features are an unbeatable garden accessory. Nothing beats the gentle sound of a babbling brook. Simply pop in position, fill up and plug it in, then sit back, admire and relax. The sight and sound of moving water are enchanting. Not only that, but a water feature can be de-stressing because it can mask the sound of passing traffic or noisy neighbours. Blissful.

If you're new to the world of garden water features or unsure about which type to choose, our garden water bowl buying guide is here to help. It offers insights into the different types, materials, and designs available, ensuring you make an informed decision that complements your garden's aesthetics. For those on a budget, there are plenty of affordable water feature options that don't compromise on style or quality.

Best garden water features at a glance:

Best for water feature for wildlife: Crocus Feathered Friends Water Feature - View on Crocus
Best Zen garden water feature: Light Up Buddha Water Feature – View on Wayfair
Best small and stylish water feature: Lights4fun Stone Sphere Water Feature – View on Amazon UK

Coming in all shapes, sizes, and finishes, there's a design certain to fit your garden style and budget. With plenty of models in modern materials from cement and slate water features to galvanised steel, it'll look good too. From water fountains to sphere water features, there is something for everyone.

Here, at Modern Gardens, we've rounded up the best garden water features for your outdoor sanctuary. So, without further ado, let's take a look at the best garden water features currently available.

Best garden water feature in the UK

Best Zen garden water feature

Marius Resin Buddha Water Feature with LED LightLangley Street/Wayfair

Nestled against a wall or as an end-of-path focal point, this sculpted Buddha radiates peace and tranquillity. A steady curtain of water is lit from below by three LEDs as it flows down to the hidden reservoir. Complete with an integrated LED light so you can admire the water feature in the evenings.

Customer review: "Easy to set up, well made and maintenance free. The sound of the water can be adjusted easily. The water can be topped up easily. The lights look small but so effective when dark. We have used a timer plug to manage on/off times."


  • Ideal for small gardens
  • Sculpted Buddha design for tranquil feel
  • Features a steady curtain of water lit from below by LEDs


  • Specific placement might be required (against a wall or end-of-path focal point)

Best for water feature for wildlife

Crocus bird water feature Crocus
Price: £107.99 (was £179.99)

Ideal for avian enthusiasts, Crocus' "Feathered Friends" solar water feature has been created with garden birds in mind to help encourage plenty of visitors while you enjoy the serenity a water feature offers. This gives your bird buddies a gentle water flow into a shallow bowl for safe access for smaller birds who can easily drink from the fountain and bathe in the bowl. This has sweet bird detail and an attractive aged stone finish. This is powered by a solar pump so needs to be placed in a light spot.


  • Decorative bird detail
  • Aged stone finish


  • Needs strong sunlight

Best ceramic water feature

Crocus fish water feature Crocus

What better theme for a water feature than a fish? We love this water feature's playful design and gorgeous deep blue colour. This would look amazing placed near a garden pond, but requires no wiring so can be placed anywhere in your outdoor space, or even on a balcony thanks to its compact design. This is made from durable ceramic that's been given an attractive glossy finish. The power comes from a low-voltage solar water pump.


  • Fun fish design
  • Ceramic finish


  • Not frost-proof

Best sphere water features

Best small and stylish water feature

Lights4fun Stone Sphere Water Feature Globe Bowl Garden Fountain 36cm LED Plug InLights4Fun/Amazon

Made from durable material, this stone-like centrepiece from Lights4fun will make a gorgeous addition to your garden. Water flows from the top of the fountain into its own little reservoir while the warm white LEDs make it stand out and dazzle, especially when the sun goes down.

Customer review: "This comes with a 10m lead and 12V adaptor, so it's very easy to run it into the domestic house socket. It looks good either indoors or outdoors. Slightly a shame that the fountain lights can't be turned off during the day - they're a bit wasted when it's sunny - but that's my only small gripe."


  • Can be displayed outdoors all year round
  • Made from durable material with a stone-like appearance.
  • Water flows from the top of the fountain into its own basin.


  • Reviews say the pump doesn’t send water up very high

Best contemporary water feature

Primrose water feature Primrose/Amazon

This striking water feature offers clean, modern looks and would make an eye-catching focal point in contemporary gardens. It's comprised of a polished stainless steel ball that's rust- and weather-resistant and a freestanding grey reservoir bowl. It's advised, and looks more attractive, if you fill the bowl around the sphere with decorative pebbles. The sphere is topped with LED lights which illuminate the water as it pours out from the top.

Customer review: "This is a wonderful garden feature, it looks amazing in my flower bed, because the weather has gone so cold we decide not to connect it up until another month, it still looks gorgeous even when not in use."


  • Modern design
  • Built-in lighting


  • Requires mains power

Best waterfall features

Best cascading water feature

Outdoor spiral water feature sandstoneCrocus

Standing at 82cm tall, this sweeping design from Crocus makes a striking feature wherever you place it. Water falls through the centre of the spiral and is lit from below by recessed LEDs to create a serene and stunning spectacle. Mains operated, this feature needs to be plugged in for use. Supplied with a two-year warranty.


  • Low maintenance
  • Plug in and go
  • A striking design that stands at 82cm tall


  • If you live in a hard water area, fill the feature with rainwater or previously boiled water to protect material

Best planter water feature

Planter fountainPrimrose
Price: £357.99

This cascading blade and planter is crafted from grade 304 stainless steel - a feature that is made to last. This brilliantly designed piece will add a contemporary feel to any garden whilst also appealing to the corporate sector with its smart lines and sleek appearance. This stainless steel water feature and planter will, without a doubt, add a crisp modern edge to any environment, be it your home or garden.


  • A planter as well as a water feature
  • Crafted from grade 304 stainless steel, it ensures durability
  • The cascading blade and planter design add a contemporary feel to gardens


  • May be too contemporary for some gardens

Best solar-powered water feature

tiered water feature on grass in sunny gardenWaitrose

Tiered geometric shapes and a pitted stone effect finish give this tumbling feature plenty of impact. Solar-powered and recirculating, the Genoa Cascade brings life and movement to any sunny part of the garden and attracts wildlife too.


  • Solar-powered
  • Features tiered geometric shapes with a pitted stone effect finish
  • Solar-powered and recirculating design


  • Not suitable for winter use

Best decorative water feature

Teamson Home Garden WaterTeamson/Amazon

The Teamson Home Basin Water Fountain features two tiers and a classic geometric design with intricate detailing for a tranquil and soothing addition to your indoor or outdoor space. The dramatic large water fountain structure looks unique, with LED lights that keep the fountain illuminated to add a soft glow. 

Customer review: "Easy to install, looks good and was great value for money."


  • No mains water connection required
  • Natural effect
  • Features two tiers and a classic geometric design


  • A review says parts of the coating was very thin


What does a water feature require to work?

Most water features work the same way, no matter the material they're made from. If the feature has moving water, unless it's solar-powered, you will probably need an electricity supply to drive the pump.

As for the water, the constant supply should come from a reservoir; the same water is used over and over. So, for this reason, most features do not require a constant water supply. Most features are self-contained, so they just need topping up occasionally.

What is a flow rate?

Before you shop, decide whether you want a noise-masking gush or a quietly soothing trickle. Taller features with multiple levels are always going to be louder than a low bubbling pool, so it's worth investing in a taller feature if you want to detract from noisy surroundings.

By looking at the water flow rate of a garden water feature, you will find out just how much water is pushed through it. Plus, you'll know how much noise it will make.

Luckily, water features typically come with a pump that is appropriate for the size and volume of their design. Usually measured in gallons per minute (GPM), this measurement defines the rate at which the pump can push water through the system; the higher the rate, the noisier it will be.

Where do I put my outdoor water feature?

First and foremost, position your water feature where it can be appreciated most and don't be afraid to move it depending on the season or how you wish to use your garden.

As formats and designs, they vary: from back-to-wall features to tall and stately spirals or curvy bowl and sphere pairings that go centre-stage on the patio. If a room is tight, there are multitasking designs with planting pockets that'll fit into the smallest of outside spaces.

A water feature is a great way to introduce light and movement (to an otherwise dull area) to create a focal point to tempt you into an underused section. When you're deciding on its position, consider how you could tailor the surrounding areas to enhance it.

For example, you could paint the wall behind a tall and airy cascade a dark shade. Why? Well, it would showcase the water flow and make It stand out. Perhaps, you could nestle a bubbling, stone basin into a dry, river of pebbles - and use grass to decorate.

water feature

What do I need to be aware of when fitting my water feature?

Honestly, the beauty of these products is that they are portable, need minimal setup and have very few components that can go wrong.

Many are mains powered and need to be plugged into an outdoor socket – installing one is a job for your local electrician, and you can expect to pay around £150 to have an IP66 rated outdoor socket with a residual current device (RCD) fitted.

But then all you need to do is plug it in and add water!

There are also solar-powered designs on the market, many featuring an internal battery that can store excess energy to power the pump during cloudy weather or dark evenings. Cable lengths vary with mains-powered products usually around 10m long and solar versions having a total cable reach of around 7m.

What maintenance does my outdoors water feature need?

With so few components, self-contained water features are pretty reliable but a few tricks will ensure they perform well for longer.

Water will evaporate, and surprisingly quickly during hot, dry weather, so keep an eye on water levels and top up with a watering can or garden hose pipe when needed. This will ensure the pump doesn't overwork, shortening its active life.

Cold weather can also take its toll as, when temperatures drop, water can freeze and expand increasing the chance of pipes cracking and reservoirs fracturing. Moving the water feature closer to the house or into a more sheltered position can help, but if your garden is very exposed, consider fully draining the feature until warmer weather returns.

Keeping the water circulating as much as possible is the best way to prevent a build-up of algae. If it's still an issue then using a suitable water treatment at the recommended rate and timing will also help to keep it clear. We recommend this one from Blagdon:

Best cleaning product

Blagdon 250 ml Feature Algae Control for Water FeaturesBlagdon/Amazon

Feature Algae Control will reduce the occurrence of unsightly green water, slime and blanket weeds in free-standing water features. If a substantial amount of slime builds up, then it's best to carry out a complete clean. Unplug the feature, give it a hose-down, and then use a stiff bristle brush and rag to dislodge any tough algae before rinsing clean.


  • Suitable for use in resin, stone, metal and concrete water features
  • Effective algae cleaning product


  • Do not use in water features that contain fish or are intended to attract wildlife

Best sphere water features for your garden

Modern water features inspired by nature

The best zen garden water features for your peaceful oasis

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Jill Morgan writes regularly for Modern Gardens, and loves everything to do with gardens, plants and outdoor living. Her long thin, town garden is the setting for many family and creative projects from bird feeding and veggie growing to den building and mini-pond dipping.

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